By Jillian Diamond
Hundreds gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Saturday in order to protest the replacement of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Women’s March over the weekend came early this year just days before the Senate’s upcoming vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. The D.C. march was one of many held across the country in order to honor Ginsburg’s memory and build momentum in anticipation of the presidential election in November.
The biggest issue brought up by protestors at the march was abortion and a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. Barrett has been known to be a strong proponent against the practice and many believe that she is being nominated so that Roe v. Wade can be reversed.
Protesters chanted slogans such as “My body, my choice!” and “Keep your laws off my body!”. Many even attended the march in red and white handmaid costumes, in reference to Barrett’s alleged position of the same name in the Christian group People of Praise.
The march was preceded by an hour-long rally where several prominent female leaders in the D.C. area spoke. Women from the Piscataway Conoy tribe, the Black Lives Matter D.C. branch, the organization UltraViolet, Planned Parenthood and the National Women’s Law Center were among the speakers, as well as the march’s executive director Rachel O’Leary Carmona. All spoke of the importance of voting, of women’s bodily autonomy, and of showing up to protest injustices.
“We do not have the privilege of giving into despair,” said Sonja Spoo, the director of reproductive rights campaigns at UltraViolet. “But we have the right of leaning into our future triumph.”
The march started at Freedom Plaza, with its route passing the Supreme Court and finally ending at the National Lawn. But at the Supreme Court building, protesters were met with resistance from anti-abortion counterprotesters who had taken up residence on the stairs to the courthouse.
“Abortion betrays women, and women deserve better!” they chanted, holding up signs with pictures of fetuses on them. They read things like “She could be Oprah” and “She could be Alexandria”, referencing the kind of female leaders that the Women’s March was meant to honor.
A volunteer from the Women’s March stood between them and the rest of the protesters, keeping things from escalating into violence, though shouting matches were still held between the two. But the protest was not simply about honoring Ginsburg’s memory and promoting an abortion rights agenda, as speakers also stressed the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election.
Though the march was pro-women, it was also strongly anti-Trump. Several participants in the march held novelty balloons that depicted President Donald Trump as an orange, diaper-clad baby, as well as signs that decried the forty-fifth president and his administration. After the march itself, a text-a-thon was held on the National Lawn, in which participants texted their friends and family and encouraged them to vote.
“Now, four years later, with 17 days to go, we’re going to finish what we started,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, who has been part of the Women’s March ever since its inception in 2017. “His presidency began with women marching, and it’s going to end with women voting.”
Featured Photo Credit: Dorvall Bedford/Bloc Reporter.
Jillian Diamond is a junior journalism and public policy major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.